Christopher Cerk, a web-development major at the University of Michigan, said his desire to save money and invest in his future motivated him to ditch dorm life and instead build a tiny house to reside in.
“When you pay rent, you have money flying out the door, and you get no return on it,” Cerk said. “It’s nice to have a space you can clean in 15 minutes.”
After living in a dorm and an apartment, Cerk said he initially set his sights on remodeling a Volkswagen Bus to live in, but his mother talked him out of it. So Cerk built his tiny house over one summer; he estimates construction cost about $15,000. He says he had no experience building anything large and that he read up on how to frame a house and match roof angles. The 170-square-foot dwelling sits on a trailer and includes propane heating and solar panels but has no air conditioning or Internet.
Finding a place to park his new home was a major concern but Cerk didn’t broach the idea with the university. “I had a feeling it would be a very long process, and I didn’t want to deal with that,” he said. Instead, Cerk rents space to park the tiny home from a local landowner less than 20 minutes from the Ann Arbor, Mich., campus.
…Students who live in tiny houses instead of traditional campus housing will miss out on an important aspect of college and university life, Blattner said. Campus housing is connected to a positive educational experience, particularly for first- and second-year students. Studies show that dorm living promotes a stronger connection to campus life and leads to higher GPAs, he said. Tiny houses under campus auspices, therefore, might be most beneficial for graduate students, staff and faculty, he said.
“We’re not really sure where they fit in,” Blattner said. “But if there becomes a demand for tiny houses, we’ll certainly look into it.”